Blogging the Institutes–1.8.11–The NT Confirms the Scriptures

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.

The NT Confirms the Scriptures 

The New Testament supports the reliability of the Scriptures. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke narrate the life of Jesus in a very plain and simple style. The proud often look at the Gospels with distain for this reason because they don’t see the great doctrines taught in the Gospels. On the other hand, if someone truly thought about these doctrines then they might believe that the authors of the Gospels were presenting truths far beyond human comprehension. The first chapter of Luke is an amazing piece of literature. If read carefully, it truly shows itself to be great writing. Furthermore, Jesus’ own teachings are simple, yet incredibly profound. John’s writings will shame those who fail to obey the gospel more than any rebuke. Let every person who doesn’t have reverence for the Scriptures come forward and actually read the Gospel of John. If they read John, they will find it in a thousand sentences which will wake them up from their spiritual slumber. It will burn its way into their soul and put an end to their scoffing and derision. The same thing can be said for Peter and Paul’s writings. Their writings exhibit a certain heavenly majesty which rivets the reader.

One piece of evidence should show the divine character of the New Testament. Look at Matthew’s life. He was a tax-collector. Look at Peter and John’s life: they were poor and illiterate fishermen. They were never educated in religious schools. Yet, look at the content of their writings. Who could have received it from but God Himself? Forever, Paul was a persecutor of the church who hounded Christians for their beliefs and threw them into jail. Yet, Paul’s life testifies to the fact that divine power compelled him to preach the message he once persecuted, because he was not looking to change his beliefs. Even if people deny that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and even if people do not believe the historical records, the very circumstances of the early church proclaim that the Holy Spirit must have been the teacher of the apostle.

 

Blogging the Institutes–1.8.10–Scripture Survived Persecution

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.

Scripture Survived Persecution

Some people will object to the credibility of Scripture due to a passage in the book of 1 Maccabees (1:57-58), which talks about all the book of the Hebrew Scripture being destroyed. The passage in question, however, actually confirms and upholds the reliability of the Scriptures. Those who object to Scripture ask, “If Antiochus ordered all the copies of the Hebrew Scriptures to be burned, then where did the copies we now have come from?” Let me answer that question with a question: “What workshop could produce ‘new’ Scriptures so quickly?” It is an indisputable fact that copies of Scripture were among the Jewish people at the end of Antiochus’ persecution. These copies were also acknowledged by all the educated Jews to be legitimate. Although people criticized the Jews for various reasons, no one ever criticized them for introducing false Scriptures to support their faith. Whatever they thought of the Jewish religion, the critics of the Jews at least acknowledged that Moses was the founder.

Rather than merely refuting error, let us know look at how the Lord preserved His holy word. Again all hope, the Lord rescued His word from one of the cruelest tyrants of all time. The value of God’s word inspired pious priests to risk their lives to preserve the holy word. You have to acknowledge that it was a sign of God’s miraculous work that the Hebrew Scriptures returned to prominent—even more prominent—status as soon as Antiochus’ persecution ended. Furthermore, the Greek translation (the Septuagint) spread across the whole world. God rescued His the Laws of His covenant from Antiochus even as the Jewish people were persecuted, crushed, and almost entirely eradicated. Except for use among the Jews, the Hebrew language was not in use, or even widely known in the world. If God did not preserve His word and the religion of the Jews, then it would have perished from the world. It is obvious from the prophetic writings how much knowledge even the Jews had lost of their native language. It is important to understand that point because it demonstrates how old the Law and the Prophets are. Ironically, who did God choose to preserve the message of salvation found in the Law and the Prophets? The Jews! Those who were the bitterest enemies of Jesus. Thus, Augustine rightly calls them the librarians of the church because they supplied us with our holy books!